What causes false positive for syphilis in a blood test?

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Posted on Wed, 27 Sep 2017 in Infections
Question: I recently went to donate plazma and was tested. They said i tested posirive for syphillis. I have not had sex for 3 years and my past relationship was with the same guy d
For 13 years. I will get another blood test tomorrow but can this be a false positive. I have had no symptoms
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 52 minutes later
Brief Answer:
false positives can occur

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

Syphilis is caused by the treponema pallidum bacteria.

It is possible that it is a false positive reaction. The initial test is most commonly a non treponemal test.

This means that it is not specific just for the treponema bacteria but may react (give a positive result) from other causes as well.
The non treponemal tests are vdrl and rpr.

If these tests are positive then a more specific test, that looks specifically for this bacteria, is done.

Some of the causes of false positive reactions are:(1) pneumonia
(2)hepatitis
(3)autoimmune diseases such as lupus , rheumatoid arthritis
(4)mononucleocis
(5)malaria
(6)malignancy
(7)TB
(8)measles, chicken pox, mumps
(9)HIV
(10)immunizations
(11)thyroiditis- inflammation of the thyroid
(12)ulcerative colitis- this is a form of inflammation of the colon
(13)vasculitis- inflammation of the blood vessels

These are some of the causes of false positive reactions. Unfortunately some of the possible causes can be troublesome as well

I hope this helps, wish you the best
Feel free to ask any other questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 11 minutes later
if the next test would be positive does the antibiotic work for it
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 12 minutes later
Brief Answer:
yes, antibiotics can effectively treat this condition

Detailed Answer:
There are different stages of syphilis.

Antibiotics would effectively treat primary syphilis (the earliest stage), secondary syphilis , early latent syphilis, late latent syphilis

Would not be effective for tertiary syphilis which is the very late stage where there is damage to organs. It is not common at all.

If anything else is unclear, can let me know
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
doctor
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Follow up: Dr. Michelle Gibson James 2 minutes later
i have never had any symptoms. is this something i could get working in a nursing home invirionment
doctor
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 22 minutes later
Brief Answer:
usually during intercourse

Detailed Answer:
HI

It is transmitted from direct contact with a chancre (sore). This sore can be present in different areas such as genitalia region or mouth.

Transmission is usually during sexual intercourse.

If you came into contact with one of these types of sores then it is possible
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Michelle Gibson James

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2001

Answered : 16232 Questions

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